CERAWeek Reflections, FOAK Happy Hour Diagrams, and New Blog (no more Etechmonkey!)

4 min read
Apr 3, 2024
CERAWeek Reflections, FOAK Happy Hour Diagrams, and New Blog (no more Etechmonkey!)

Hi friends, it's been a while since I've written a post and I wanted to share a bit on my journey forward + some observations on CERAWeek.

Blog Revamp

As you might notice, this email is no longer being sent from the EtechMonkey blog. I've decided to retire that brand and just use my personal blog from here on out ( I created EtechMonkey as a project during my career transition and now, two years later, I want to own these thoughts and observations under my own name (which is also easier for people to remember). This also comes with a nice new website which hopefully will be more intuitive to navigate. The content will be more or less the same but with more of a bias towards FOAK-related content going forward, which brings me to my next topic...

What's Next: Creating V1 Climate Solutions

For those that I haven't spoken to in a while, here's an update on my future plans.

I've been working on the first-of-a-kind (FOAK) problem in climate tech for about a year now as an independent consultant. I started testing the waters in late 2022 after writing a series of FOAK articles that generated a lot of feedback. Since then, I've worked with clients across hydrogen, carbon capture, and green steel, and spoken to several funds and catalytic entities targeting this issue. All through just word of mouth.

This period solidified for me that 1) the FOAK gap in climate tech is real for many companies, 2) my time is well spent in solving problems in this area, 3) my experience and perspective are relevant to the FOAK community, and 4) I'm really, really excited to build something big around this. And with how much the FOAK ecosystem has evolved in just the last year, I feel that the need for constructive conversation and dedicated resources around FOAK is greater than ever.

As such, I have decided to start V1 Climate Solutions, a consulting firm committed to closing the FOAK financing gap for climate tech. I believe there is enormous potential for the climate tech industry to develop new ways of approaching FOAK, investing in FOAK, and cementing FOAK as a new asset class for the finance industry.

V1 will facilitate this growth by

  1. Supporting startups and developers in finding funding for their FOAK plant, asset, or manufacturing facility
  2. Working with investors to build out the FOAK capital stack and creating new FOAK financial offerings
  3. Joining forces with other FOAK-collaborators to creating new methods of discussing FOAK, studying FOAK, and catalyzing FOAK growth

V1's approach will combine great partnerships with analytical rigor and a love for bold and creative ideas. That's what has delivered for my past clients and what I will take to V1 going forward.

So if you or someone you know has a FOAK problem...or if you're just asking the question of "What is FOAK?", please reach out. I would love to speak to you.

CERAWeek Agora Reflections

Agora was a blast again this year. Most of the energy community and quite a bit of the climate tech community came out to attend the (arguably) better side of CERAWeek. I can't say for sure but it did seem like there were less climate tech "newcomers" this year than last. Nevertheless, the conference proved meaningful and a worthwhile way to see old friends and meet new ones, as usual.

While I can't speak for the executive side of the conference, the Agora talks seemed to have shifted in tone in several ways:

  • Way more nuclear talk: fusion and fission
  • Several mentions of US-China politics
  • More emphasis on storage of all kinds - energy storage, carbon storage, hydrogen storage
  • Greater focus on utilizing old assets and repurposing infrastructure for climate tech
  • More talks on methane
  • More talks on geothermal
  • My favorite: more direct conversations about scaling through FOAK and the evolving capital stack

What has stayed the same is the fact that hydrogen and carbon capture continue to headline most of the topics (not surprising considering that the conference once again had a "Carbon Hub" and "Hydrogen Hub" dedicated spaces).

Sightline/CTVC had a good write up on the conference as well, check it out.

FOAK Happy Hour

I co-hosted a FOAK happy hour along with Jason Ethier in his new Energy Tech Nexus space on Monday afternoon of CERAWeek. Thanks to everyone who came out in person to attend. We whiteboarded on the different structures of FOAK financing, how to define FOAK, and what the current FOAK challenges and solutions were.

Pic of FOAK Happy Hour
PC: Jason Ethier
PC: Philip Black

See below for the end result (cleaned up from the original):

I will also be co-hosting a FOAK event at SF Climate Week later this month - please contact me if you're interested in attending!